Asthma is a disease in which the airway becomes narrow and swollen and produces excessive mucous. This makes breathing hard and causes coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. For some people, asthma doesn’t cause much annoyance, but for others, it is a significant problem that interferes with daily life activities.
There is no permanent treatment for asthma, but it can be treated to minimize the symptoms. The condition of asthma tends to change over time, so it is necessary to check on asthma and regularly visit to doctor to adjust the treatment accordingly.
Symptoms of asthma
The symptoms of asthma are unique for every person. For some people, asthma symptoms are present every time, but for others, it occurs during exercise or stress. The common symptoms of asthma are:
- Shortness of breath
- Pressure on chest and pain
- Wheezing on exhalation
- Difficulty falling asleep due to breathing problems
- Coughing that can get worse with other respiratory problems like flu
When asthma symptoms worsen and occur more frequently, it means your asthma is wrong, and you need proper medical assistance. The signs of worsening asthma are:
- More frequent asthma attacks
- Increased shortness of breath
- More need of inhalers than before
There are some specific triggers of asthma that lead to fatal asthma attacks. Most asthma patients know about their allergies. The most common triggers are:
- Exercise triggered asthma, which can be worse by dry or cold air
- Occupational asthma is triggered by some irritant or chemical present at workplaces like perfumes, chemicals, and dust.
- Induced asthma is caused by airborne substances such as pollens, mold spores, animal hairs, and the skin particles of insects.
Causes of asthma
The actual cause of asthma is not clear, but according to some studies, it is due to the combination of some environmental and genetic factors. Exposure to various irritants can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma. Triggers of asthma are different for every person, but some common triggers are:
- Airborne substances like pollen, dust, animal hairs, and mold spores.
- Respiratory infections such as the common cold
- Physical activity
- Cold and dry air
- Air pollutants such as smoke
- Medications such as beta-blockers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Sulphites and preservatives used in various foods and drinks
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, a disease in which the stomach acid goes up in the throat and destroys the lining.
How is asthma treated?
Like other chronic diseases, asthma requires proper treatment based on the administration of drugs and some lifestyle changes. The healthcare provider should give adequate information and knowledge about asthma because information about the disease is necessary. There are two major types of treatment used to control asthma.
- Long-term control medication such as corticosteroids that relieve the symptoms of asthma slowly. These sorts of drugs treat the inflammation of the airway.
- Quick inhalers that immediately drive the symptoms of asthma. They quickly open your airway and ease your breathing.
Prevention from asthma
Although there is no means to avoid asthma because the cause of asthma is not known, you and your doctor can plan to change the lifestyle according to the disease and prevent asthma attacks.
- Follow the asthma action plan. This plan should be made by your doctor or healthcare provider to take medication on time and avoid asthma attacks.
- Get vaccinated against flu and pneumonia. Vaccination can prevent flu and pneumonia from triggering asthma.
- Identify and avoid asthma triggers. Many irritants like pollens, spores, dust particles, and animal hairs can trigger asthma. Find out what triggers and worsens your asthma, and then take measures to avoid those triggers.
- Control asthma attacks. With time you can recognize the warning sign that can impede asthma attacks, such as mild cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
- Treat asthma attacks on time. If you act quickly and treat asthma attacks, then you will not face any difficult situation. You will don’t need to take a lot of medications to control the symptoms.
- Take medications as directed. Don’t change your medication without talking to your doctor, even if your asthma seems to be improved. Tale your medicines along with you on every visit to the doctor so that your doctor can check that you are taking medication on time with accurate dosage. If any alter/ion is needed, your doctor will do it by himself.
- Pay attention to the use of inhalers. If you greatly rely on a quick inhaler such as salbutamol, then it means your asthma is not under control. Consult your doctor and adjust the treatment.
- Regularly check the exhalation rate. Patients with asthma must keep an expiratory flow meter with them. The doctor will help you find out how to use it and measure your exhalation rate. As soon as you find that your rate is dropping, consult your doctor immediately.
Managing an asthma attack
Mild asthma attacks are common in an asthma patient. These attacks are managed with regular medication and inhalers. The patient hardly needs to relax and rest in a mild attack of asthma. However, recognizing these symptoms is essential to avoid severe asthma attacks and to manage asthma effectively.
Severe asthma attacks last for longer and need proper medical attention. At this time, the action plan for asthma plays a crucial role in managing the situation. Follow the steps mentioned in the action plan by your doctor to control the symptoms of asthma.
When the expiration rate in the peak flow meter is dropping, the patient should immediately follow the action plan outline as the first aid and rush towards the hospital for proper medical assistance. The action plan is often proved life-saving when symptoms of asthma are worsening.
Asthma is a lung disease that mostly happened in people who are allergic to some substances. Asthma causes difficulty in breathing, so disturbs your sleep cycle. The cause of asthma is not known. It is important to take preventive measures to prevent the severe attack of asthma. Take regular medication and avoid asthma triggers to live a smooth life with asthma.
STAY AWARE, STAY SAFE.